Smartphones and not so smart people

***Consider reading my original posting HERE at the group blog, reallifetwentysomethings I also write for.  There’s some other great stuff by other great people there too 🙂 ***

Oh how we love the ever-present smartphone.  It keeps me up to date when breaking news happens.  It keeps my hands busy and mind occupied while I’m waiting in the doctor’s office.  It makes it possible to carry around my five favorite novels at all times.  It makes sure I don’t forget important birthdays, events, and meetings.  It challenges me intellectually with stimulation puzzle games (and inflates my ego when I beat my friends at them).  I can take a photograph and preserve a memory (or save evidence) at any moment.  It keeps me in touch with everyone I know, all the time (which to be honest, is also a negative).

But are they killing the relationships right in front of us?  I can’t remember the last time I was out to dinner where I was able to look around and not see any cell phones.  There is ALWAYS at least one table where the couple or family are all sitting silently, food in front of them, with their heads down messing around on their phones.  I am a big whiner about this, so thankfully my boyfriend and I don’t have this problem when eating meals.

Time at home is another story.  Every morning when we wake up we spend a good 30 minutes to an hour quietly on our phones (being able to lounge in bed is THE best part of working second shift).  If we’re watching something on TV and one of us doesn’t care for it, rather than change the channel to something we agree on, one of us will sit silently on the phone.  Any given night out with the girls, one glance down the bar/table and all of our phones are sitting out, face up.

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photo cred: nbc, tumblr

Texting drives me crazy in general.  It is not a valid form of communication!  In real life conversations you’ll never be given the chance to formulate thoughts and phrase them with painstaking perfection because you want to sound a certain way.  There’s no inflection in text messaging.  Forget about sarcasm, unless you want to look like a jerk, and be guaranteed an argument.  And if you’re bad with grammar, spelling, or punctuation – good luck.  The fun of talking to someone is making things up on the fly, that’s how you learn who a person is – when he/she doesn’t have the time to thoroughly think through what they want to say before it comes out.  Word vomit is like relationship confetti.

While it’s becoming so much easier to keep in touch long distance, we’re becoming disengaged in person.  I hear so many complaints from other twentysomethings about how hard it is to meet people once we leave college.  What are supposed to expect when we’re constantly walking around with our ears plugged and our eyes down?  Are we getting so accustomed to online interactions it’s starting to make it impossible to have stimulating conversations in person.  Smartphones are surpassing smart people.

Take a minute and look up from your phone, you can learn a lot from a person’s face (e.g. if they’re interested, breathing, dozing off, or a stranger that has replaced your friend).

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photo cred: nbc, tumblr

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When did brutal honesty become part of casual conversation?

It’s been a busy few weeks for me, both in and outside of work and it feel good to have a chance to sit back and reflect for a minute.

A few years back, I was what can only be considered “high” on an America’s Next Top Model marathon.  Around the 25th flash of Twiggy’s iconic portrait, I hopped up off of the couch and buzzed over the closest hair salon.

Twiggy++by+Barry+Lategan

photo by Barry Lategan, via http://www.twiggylawson.co.uk/

Eight inches and 45 minutes later I was rocking the most fierce haircut of my entire life.  It took me a day or two to adjust to it and my self confidence became questionable.  But it didn’t take long for me to grow to love it, and I worked my pixie for around another year or so before finally letting it grow out.  I still loved the way it looked, I was just too lazy for the upkeep (seriously, how do guys manage to keep their hair short?  I had to go at least once a month in order to maintain the style).  While I was in my short hair period I had to have my drivers license updated, and I’m not due for another update until 2015.

Now that my hair is considerably longer (it’s been growing for about two years) people seem to think they have a green light to comment on my hair then versus my hair now.  Yes, I’ve thought about getting a new id.  Then I think about all the better things I could buy with the $10 fee (a pair of secondhand jeans, a new paperback, $10 taco bell tacos)  I’ve grown used to it now, and give the standard smile and shrug with some sort of comment along the lines of “yeah, it’s different” or “yeah, it grew pretty quickly” whenever someone says something.  It doesn’t even irritate me anymore (which goes against everything I preached about in my pretty post) it’s been happening that often.  Just last week a nice young man in a gas station asked for my ID, glanced at it and said “whoa! short hair.” Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Just hand the smokes and I’ll be on my way.  He then made a comment about it looking better long (again, for some reason anyone that checks my id thinks it’s okay to give me their opinion on my appearance) with a quick follow up comment about how it didn’t look bad then (!!)  and he looked embarrassed.  I took the compliment, and the apology, and I was honestly feeling pretty good about myself.  It didn’t have the skeezy compliment vibe so many people give up (also mentioned here).

This last weekend was the homecoming celebration for my undergrad university.  I look forward to it most years because it’s the only time I get to reconnect with friends, some of which I haven’t seen since 2009.  One thing I don’t look forward to is running into all of my exes.

evil exes, yep

evil exes, yep

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Pretty… please.

When talking to a woman and discovering she works in a library, do NOT ask “So you’re like a… hot librarian?”  It’s outdated, disrespectful, and immediately discredits all of the hard work and intelligence it takes to actually become a qualified librarian (master’s degrees don’t just fall out of cereal boxes!)

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We’ve all been there, or at least seen someone there.  That terrifyingly awkward moment when you aren’t on a date or in a romantic setting, and a guy tells you that you look pretty.  And then what?  You stand there awkwardly, uncomfortably, before replying with an embarrassed, sheepish, “thanks” which is inevitably followed up with some mocking comment about how girls can’t take compliments or some other BS.

Kind of like this

Kind of like this

Are we being ungrateful?  Is it really our fault because we “can’t take a compliment?”  I say – NO DAMN IT.  Unwanted and unwelcome compliments are only one step up from catcalling (check out an AWESOME blog post by my good friend on catcalling here) and just as objectifying (and can be just as creepy).

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When does compromising become compromising?

This week started the national Banned Books Week (a librarian’s favorite holiday) for 2013.  In lieu of that, I’ve been thinking a lot about censorship – both in the broad all encompassing sense of the word and also how it relates to my personal life.  We’re expected to make compromises in life, which include the occasional self-censorship.  I very well wouldn’t talk to my boyfriend’s mother the same way I talk to my boyfriend.  I have a strict separation of clothes in my closet between my “librarian” clothes and everything else.  Sure I’m censoring myself, but it’s expected, common practice, and acceptable.  I don’t feel any less like myself in the end.

But when does compromising become compromising?

My last reallifetwentysomething post touched on this idea.  Should we accept a job that we’re beyond qualified for, just because it’s in our field?  The response was generally, yes.  But now I’m concerned about something else.  Working on a college campus, I get to talk with a lot of girls in the 18-24 range.  They’re not much younger than we are physically, but attending college can drastically change a person. I enjoy listening in on their conversations (and reminiscing about the silliness that went on when I was in college) with my “new adult” perspective.

If you haven’t been able to guess yet, this is a post about boys.

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Is out the new in?

A very good friend of mine is moving to Hawaii this week.  My heart is sad that we’ll no longer be a 10 minute drive away, but I am ecstatic for him to be starting this next chapter of his life.  This is big news, so I’ve been sharing with friends, family, and coworkers.  The most common reactions – “Must be nice!” or “Well what’s he going to do for work, everything is SO expensive there.”  Haters!  It’s HAWAII for crying out loud!  Even if he ends up homeless, he’ll still be living on a beach, eating fish and pineapple, IN HAWAII (in case you were unsure, we live in northwestern PA, we only get about 3 months of sunshine and warm weather and our beaches regularly close for E coli outbreaks).

So what’s up with all the negativity?

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Hit me baby one more time?

Carrie and Big did it for 12 years, Blair and Chuck did it for five, and now Hannah and Adam are rounding out year two.  The emotionally unavailable man and the strong independent woman that’s uncharacteristically his fallback; a classic love tale right?  Why, why, why does television keep promoting these toxic relationships, and why do we keep accepting them?  There are blogs, fan pages, fan fiction, Pinterest boards, Tumblrs, and countless tack boards spread all over the world in girls bedrooms dedicated to these couples.

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I love Sex and the City.  Just this afternoon, the boyfriend was over and (begrudgingly) watched a few old episodes with me while we ate lunch (because we both work second shift, we get to have breakfast/lunch dates rather than dinner).  We were about five or ten minutes into the episode when he said, “So basically this show just told all men that it’s okay to dick a girl over, over and over again because you’ll still end up with her in the end?”  I’m not his first girlfriend, so he’s seen a fair share of episodes and knows the gist of it.  He’s totally right.  It’s something I’ve asked myself as well.  How many independent, strong, single, women watched this show and accepted the way their “Mr. Big” treated them because they watched Carrie do it for six seasons and two movies?

In 2008, Vogue gave them a stunning photo spread portraying them as THE couple to envy for crying out loud.

In 2008, Vogue gave them a stunning photo spread portraying them as THE couple to envy for crying out loud.

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365 days, 1 day at a time

I’ve never been one for commitment.  I’ve had 10-15 jobs since I was 17.  I changed my major 4 times and then got my MA in a 5th field.  I’ve had more hairstyles than Lady Gaga.  Sometimes I change my mind about dinner and quick cooking halfway through.  I don’t have the time to count how many “boyfriend types” I’ve had since I first started dating (the fact that they were douchebag after jerk after cock after douchebag, and so on might have something to do with that).  My longest relationship with with the TV show Lost, and look how that turned out.  Commitment has just never been my thing, I get bored too easily and I like variety.  But that’s putting me right on the fast track to end up alone, talking to my dogs, and forming my days around Netflix marathons, right?

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So what I want to know is, can a girl change her spots?

In another two weeks I will be celebrating my FIRST EVER one year anniversary with a boyfriend.  That’s right, I’ve managed to make it 26 years without a long term relationship.  Well, at least a long term relationship that didn’t include any bullshit “breaks.”  So what does this mean?  Am I still me?  Am I changing?  Does this mean I’m no longer the free spirit that was able, and happy to, run wildly throughout life?  I’ve spent enough weekend nights at home watching Netflix that I’ve seriously starting worrying that I’ve become…boring (yikes!).

Don’t get me wrong, I love my boyfriend – I mean obviously, it’s my first long term relationship.  Everything is easy, we rarely fight, and we genuinely enjoy each other’s company (not to mention how dreamy he is).  We spent a week at his parents’ house in North Carolina on “vacation” this April.  We spent four smelly sweaty days together at Bonnaroo this June.  We’ve both been there rubbing the other’s back while they puked up vodka.  When we aren’t watching Netflix we’re bonding over all things geek that we love (comics, manga, anime, video games, action figures, Legos)  And we’re still attracted to each other.  Is this what being in a relationship is like?  Am I really doing this?  Can a “commitment-phobe” successfully make a commitment?  It looks like it.  For now we’ll just take it one day at a time.  And god damn it, it’s nice to not have to date anymore.

ExcitedRon

I know it’s an overused Carrie Bradshaw quote cliche but I find it eerily haunting to my situation (along with many other aspects of that show despite the 10 year age difference between me and the main character), “Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with them.”  Maybe we’ve been running wild together (or in our case more like dancing around like idiots) and that’s finally why I’ve settled down with someone.  And maybe taking a break from running wild wouldn’t be so bad, my legs were kind of getting tired anyways.

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something kind of like this

Another useless piece of paper, for an already flammable apartment

Hi everyone! Check out this blog, reallifetwentysomething which I also write for. This is my debut post 🙂

reallifetwentysomething

Jessica M

It was suggested for my first “Real Life Twenty Something” blog entry, I write-up an extension of my previous background post to better explain myself and where I am today.

So where am I today? Today, I am at what should be my dream job, doing dream work, and making a different in college student’s lives. What am I really doing? Staring a computer screen, slowly wearing a groove in my desk from where my elbow sits while I rest my head in my chin, paying my gas bill.

Lets backtrack. I received a BA in English – literature in 2009. I had high hopes of doing…. anything. Really there was no life plan for me graduating out of college, I just liked to read. So like many other people my age, I spent the summer looking for work and settled with the first full-time job I could find, being…

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From burning bras to burn books

For starts, I apologize for my prolonged radio silence.  Right when I was getting into a groove my computer shit the bed and I’ve just got myself set up with a loaner until mine can be repaired.  So for now, let’s get this show on the road!

Ever since I was old enough to notice there was a difference between boys and girls, you could say I’ve been a self proclaimed feminist.  We can chalk this one up to my maternal grandma (rest her soul) and her hippie activist ideals.  I’ll always treasure the plaque she bought me at our local flea market when I was 11.  It was small, but heavy and elegant and had the phrase, “Behind every successful man stands a woman, telling him that’s he’s WRONG” carved on the face.

What do you know, I found the exact same one on eBay for only $18.99!

What do you know, I found the exact same one on eBay for only $18.99!

As I grew older, I learned the importance of research and fact checking and can now knowingly say that I am a feminist through and through because of issues and topics that affect me, and not just because Nanny told me women were equal too (or better than, depending on her mood) men.  Now this isn’t meant to be a post explaining what feminism is to me or why I’m a feminist or why I think you should be a feminist too (this includes you MEN too!).  There’s no time in the world for me to get into those thoughts, so moving on…

This last weekend my dear dear boyfriend told me that a friend of his from high school was in town from New York City and asked if I’d come with him when he went to meet up.  I asked for the friends name, and I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when he said “Reina.”

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Shit, shower, and shave

I work I have the luxury of being able to listen in on college student conversations.  As I’m sure you can imagine, they can be quite interesting.  Sometimes they make me long for days when I was still in college, experiencing the same things they are all over again – the late night parties and the all night after parties, the midnight pizza pig outs, the lazy all day tv marathons with your roommates, meeting new people everyday, learning things, having an infinite amount of clothing to borrow from your girlfriends at a moments notice, having guy friends to help out for every move, the constant buzzing of people on campus, beers and grilling seven nights a week in the summertime… You get the drift.

But most of the time, after hearing most of the stories, I don’t miss it.

This evening, I overheard a young girl explaining to her friends (I’m guessing they were freshman, 18-19, because they had no CLUE how a library works. sigh..) what her experience in the communal shower was today.  She explained that when she went to shower today, she had to skip it because she found… can you guess what?…. she found a HUMAN TURD on the floor of the shower.

sarahsilvermanWTF

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